Being from the South (Alabama, to be specific), I thought I was used to extreme heat and humidity. After living in Barranquilla for the past 11 months, I am no longer so confident about my personal level of “heat tolerance,” or “heat resistance.”
Lately, the weather here in Barranquilla has been on the extreme side. Yes, we are close to the equator, and, yes, it is hot year-round here, but the last few days have been exceptionally HOT. In fact, the heat index has been well into the 100s.
Living in Barranquilla, you get used to the “make your hair immediately frizzy” humidity and sitting on the left side of the bus in the mornings to avoid the oven hot seats that have been baking in the sun on the right side of the bus (at least if your traveling north in the city), and even the weird moisture level in the air that will make chips go soggy if left out for more than 5 minutes.
Even so, I knew something was out of whack this past week.
Walking to the gym in the morning (or evening), I normally get hot and even sweaty. BUT, this past week, walking to the gym at 7:30am was defintely a respiratory challenge. The lethal combination of 100% humidity and a heat index in the 100s made it feel like my lungs were working double just to survive. Post-gym, post-freezing cold shower, I couldn’t even cool off. Even when even wearing a skirt, sleeveless shirt, and sandals and having my hair up I still thought I was melting on my walk to catch the bus to work. And, speaking of the bus ride, the past few days it has been like a ride to hades; my co-worker, Doug, once described the buses here as “toasters on wheels” and this past week they have 100% lived up to that description.
Where I normally catch the bus…
The heat has even affected Milo, my cat. Normally he can’t get enough time on outdoor balcony. He loves to lay in the sun or underneath our patio chairs and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. However, this past week he was anxious to be indoors, and only peered outside from the safety of our airconditioned apartment. The few times he ventured outside, he collapsed on the cold floor inside the apartment, panting as if he’d just come out of the dryer…
Needless to say, until the weather cools down a bit (and, by a bit I mean a few degrees cooler, less humidity, and more breeze), I’ll be doing indoor activities, drinking lots of water, and avoiding the sun.